Would You Switch To One Of The New Network Providers?

New mobile network providers are disrupting the industry. We took a look at whether Telkom, Cell C, Vodacom and MTN are in trouble.
Jason Snyman
2018-06-19
Competitors in the mobile network operator industry are stepping up in a bid to overthrow the big boys. Vodacom, MTN, Cell C and Telkom Mobile are no doubt going to be feeling the heat, with companies such as RAIN and TRACE seeking to disrupt the market with new and exciting business models. Let’s have a look at how things are changing.

It’s About To RAIN Data

It wasn’t too long ago that former FNB CEO, Michael Jordaan, took up the helm at Rain. He’s a busy man. Not only is the new company looking to change the landscape of the local telecommunications industry, but he’s also got Bank Zero coming up – which should do the same with the banking sector. Archaic traditional business models are going out the window. And it’s about time. The premise seems simple enough. Provide South Africans with the first data-only mobile network. Ultimately, Jordaan’s plan is to deliver a mobile equivalent to the terrestrial fibre networks currently conquering the country. Rain launched its very first mobile products on 6 June 2018. There’s only one package available – mobile data priced at just 5c per MB. This works out to R50 per GB, which is by far more affordable than what we’ve been paying with other network providers. Even on contract. Users are only charged according to the data they use. No binding contracts, which is a relief. There are no bundles or OOB rates. Consumers won’t lose any unused data or face a terrible bill shock at the end of the month. Another option offered is a R250 p/m unlimited data add-on. With this, users receive unlimited mobile data which they can use for 19 hours a day. This only excludes the peak hours, between 18:00 and 23:00. One nice thing is that with dual-SIM capability, smartphone owners will be able to use Rain for their data usage and another network SIM for making calls, etc. As a launch promotion, Rain is giving unlimited data usage for between 15 and 90 days to anybody who buys a Rain Mobile SIM or device bundle.  

Salty Network Providers Won’t Comment

Just after the launch, MyBroadband approached Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, and Telkom and asked them about their thoughts on Rain. The network giants were asked whether they would respond to the new operator’s mobile offering. Here’s what they said:
  • Vodacom – “Vodacom doesn’t comment on products offered by other service providers. In the normal course of business, any new or revised products will be appropriately communicated.”
  • MTN – “MTN is continuously working towards providing relevant and cost-effective propositions for consumers of broadband products. MTN will continue to evolve its propositions as the needs of our consumers change.”
  • Cell C – No comment.
  • Telkom – No comment.
 

No TRACE Of Data Expiration

Afro-urban music and entertainment media company, Trace, has launched Trace Mobile in SA as an MVNO – Mobile Virtual Network Operator. Though it will be piggy-backing off of Cell C’s network, it will still seek to offer a better experience than the competition. Trace differs from Rain in many aspects, but is noteworthy in being the first network provider in South Africa to eliminate expiration dates from data bundles. Prices, however, are still comparable to the big network companies. 1GB sets you back at R160. Trace offers prepaid packages, which include the aforementioned non-expiring data, music services and lifestyle rewards. The new product is aimed at the 16-35 year old South African market. There are eight live TV music channels available, 30 digital radio channels and a whole line-up of movies, series, documentaries and concerts. Another nice feature is that Trace Mobile users will be able to transfer airtime to other Trace Mobile users. SIMs retail at R5 each, and users will have access to vouchers from partners such as Edgars, Shesha, Red Square and CNA.